“The Treatise on Purgatory – Saint Catherine of Genoa” from cfpeople.org/apologetics
You may not believe in Purgatory, but this may change your outlook in life as Sister Catherine of Genoa shares her vision of Purgatory in her life long devotion to God as you read through our above link.
I was just ticketed for parking violation. My lovely wife reminded me on a Thursday morning of July 2011 that I should go look out from the balcony of the apartment building we are staying in Los Angeles, California, and see the ticket on my car’s windshield.
Sure enough, I saw the familiar small white envelope on my car’s windshield. It was my second parking violation ticket, and a charge of another $68 will be another slash on our budget. And to think, I can’t imagine that I forgot all about the need to re-position my car the day before when me and my 18 year old son had just done a pretty good hand wash on it two days before the traffic enforcer caught it sitting on that side of the road where the city street sweeper truck was scheduled to do its cleaning routine for that week, and almost all the time that day before, I was just proudly gleaming at it enjoying the sight of my newly washed car that saved me around $10.
Oh well, as they say, “if something will go wrong, it will go wrong,” and I have to admit of my human weakness, and I rejoice in acknowledging my weakness in my forgetfulness as I am made whole in Christ every time I see myself humbled. And I am happy for those who accept their faults for it is this acceptance of what is true that one learns to renew and better himself and stand strong as witness to God’s truth in his words.
I just have to console myself that, perhaps, the city needed more funds to cover its bigger deficit. And spending $68 for six months parking near the sidewalk is not really bad, huh?
With a weak faith, the evil one could have easily ruined my day, but the Holy Spirit seems to be reminding me always not to worry, for worrying will not add a single hour or day in my life, as Jesus has said to his disciples in Matthew 6:27.
And in 2 Corinthians 11:30, Saint Paul in Christ states, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that will show my weakness.”
What can happen worse is a possible heated conflict among individuals because of a disagreement over flimsy things such as anything material that is never worthy of any argument, as all things that one cannot bring along upon one’s death, these becoming eventually meaningless. And it is in treasuring things that may bring one to eternal life, for me, is more worthy of keeping in one’s heart and spirit, and being steadfast in our faith that we may never falter in sharing this truth with our family and love ones, if we truly love them and care for them. And is this not the words of God that we should learn to seek and adhere to?
That is why, for me, the essence of faith and obedience in His words through Christ Jesus has become an important guide in my life, and I know that anything material cannot be brought along when I will be called by God Almighty telling me my ”time is up.’
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Saint Paul, after he admonished everyone to live in peace with each other, to encourage the timid to help the weak, to be patient with everyone, nobody to pay wrong for wrong and to always be kind to each other and to everyone else, he said, “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
And the more I live my life, the more peace and happiness comes in my heart and spirit as I reflect on above powerful verses.
In above example, there is nothing that compares with attuning your life in humility and obedience to God’s will through God’s words in Christ and his commandments, that we can better prepare ourselves ready and duly cleansed and worthy of God’s embrace even while we live this life, as Purgatory in itself.
Essence of Purgatory
The essence of Purgatory coincides with the truth in Christ’s teachings and it clarifies the meaning of retribution, confession of sins, forgiveness of sins, prayer and repentance with renewal, and Purgatory’s state compared with heaven and hell.
Here on earth, according to Saint Catherine, we can already start cleansing our selves from all sins and from all impurities in our hearts and spirit, as we prepare for the afterlife, when we will one day be with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, as she has done so herself, manifest in her life long dedication to God, in humility and total obedience to His will, especially in her last 10 years of her life serving and showing her selfless sacrifice in the care and love of others.
Come to think of it, how can we be accepted in heaven if we still are attached to things material, to our pride, to sins of lust and other sins that make our souls unclean and unfit to ever be worthy of God’s embrace in His Heavenly Kingdom?
Will it not help for us to approach all things that is set forth before us as trials from the Lord, and that he may not burden us with something the we cannot bear or endure, so long as we stay faithful to him?
In Romans 6:11-14 St. Paul states, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 exhorts us in St. Paul, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
That is why, whenever I experience something that goes wrong, I pray for a better understanding of all these and rejoice in God’s blessings instead of uselessly panicking and getting tempted with the thought of something that is here to test my patience and my faith, as I always trust in the Lord that nothing on earth can ever be greater than Him and His love for all of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
And in everything unexpected that happens in this life, I believe, blessings will soon come in abundance through faith in Christ Jesus, as has been proven many times in my life with my family.
A few days after my parking violation, we saw a long beautiful cabinet table sitting near the recycling bin, seemingly slightly used and made of good material. For whatever reason the former owners discarded it is the least of my concern, but it fit very well our need for our bedroom TV and the need for extra drawers to duly help organize a few clutter in our room.
We felt that this saved us another $200 or so if we opted to purchase a similar versatile table.
“God is really good,” I said to my wife, “he provides us with what we need.” My wife smilingly nodded with glee in her eyes. To think it is not the first time that we experienced God’s goodness.
In Proverbs 37:4, “Delight yourself with the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
And it is in the guidance and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that we can further be guided in this truth as we continuously thank God for giving us the desires of our heart.
Let us now get into the life of Saint Catherine of Genoa before we summarize to you the essence of God’s revelation to her about Purgatory in ‘The Treaties of Purgatory.”
Saint Catherine and Her Faith
As early as in the young tender age of 13, Saint Catherine has already confessed of her wish to enter into the convent of Santa Maria del Grazie, in Genoa, Italy. This house of the Augustinian Canonesses of the Lateran was where her elder sister, Limbania, took the vow as a nun.
When her confessor heard this, he immediately told the young Catherine of the difficulties of the life of the religious to which she responded with such ‘prudence and zeal’ that amazed Father Cattaneo Marabotto prompting him to see in her something that is ‘not human but supernatural and divine.’
She grew up to become a tall and beautiful lady with a ‘well shaped body, fair complexioned and possessed dark eyes. It did not take long before her elder brother, Giacomo, who inherited her father’s wealth and possessions when he passed away, planned her betrothal to Guiliano Adorni, from the powerful Ghibeline family, with the support of her mother, and she was left with no choice as she accepted this cross to carry in blind obedience to her mother and her elder brother.
Her husband was described of possessing a ‘strange and recalcitrant nature who wasted his substance in disorderly living.’ But as years passed, she was exposed to practicing a certain commerce with the world. Until her conversion in 1474 during the Eve of Saint Bernard when she fell down unconscious from prayer as she saw a vision of our Lord covered with blood from the cross from whence, she cried out loud, “No more of the world for me! No more sin!”
She devoted the rest of her life caring for the sick while being guided by the Ladies of Mercy and living in a life of prayer. She was able to obtain from her husband a promised that she would live with her as a brother, which he kept. She lived in utter sacrifice and avoided all kinds of worldly temptations.
A few years after her conversion, her husband joined her in her works of mercy after he himself received the third order of Saint Francis. And in 1497, she nursed her husband until he died, extolled her of all her virtues in his will and left her all his possessions.
Saint Catherine suffered in her life while serving and caring for sick as ‘rector of the hospital with unlimited powers.’ She so arranged that her prayerful devotions and her ecstasies will not interfere in her activities while she cared for the sick. And in total humility and faith in the Lord she happily joined our Creator on the 15th of September, 1510.
Recorded by Mrs. Charlotte Balfour, as extracted from Saint Catherine’s writings, “We should not wish for anything but what comes to us from moment to moment,” Saint Catherine told her spiritual children, “exercising ourselves none the less for good. For he who would not thus exercise himself, and await what God sends, would tempt God. When we have done what good we can, let us accept all that happens to us by Our Lord’s ordinance, and let us unite ourselves to it by our will. Who tastes what it is to rest in union with God will seem to himself to have won to Paradise even in this life.”
Saint Catherine’s doctrine, “The Treatise of Purgatory
In conceptualizing her vision of Purgatory, Saint Catherine states that those in Hell are careless in their salvation while those in Purgatory are those whose guilt have been wiped away from the moment of their death as they have acknowledged their sins and have earnestly ‘repented for their offences against divine goodness,’ with their pain ever lessening with the time.
Both those in Hell and Purgatory have ‘no more free will’ upon the time of death, with those in Hell having the will to sin, and ‘bears the guilt with them throughout eternity,’ as they suffer the pain they would have to endure without end.
Men dead in sin merit infinite pain for an infinite time, but God’s mercy only allotted to him at a given time and has determined the quantity of pain, in justice ‘God could have given him more pain.’
Saint Catherine emphasized, “O how dangerous is sin committed in malice! Hardly does a man repent him thereof, and without repentance he will bear its guilt for as long as he perseveres, that is for as long as he wills a sin committed or wills to sin again.”
If you try to examine your conscience, do you in anyway feel bad or feel the pain, sorrow, grief and the guilt as you sin such as wantonly denying the words and commandments of God and in Christ by:
- lying before others to suit your own selfish desires and satisfaction;
- bearing as a false witness against another;
- your ill intent to defraud, malign or punish another out of your own selfish desires, out of envy, jealousy. or out of undue retaliation or vengeance;
- your non-forgiveness, persecuting others, including yourself, by letting them or yourself suffer the pain, either physical or emotional, out of self-pity, your own anger, selfishness, pride, vain conceit, with your continuous tirade of demeaning words, insults, blames, curses or slander against something done which merit not anything that may be noble, righteous, or worthy of praise, and out of love, that disrespects the dignity of your neighbor whose body made in God’s image and likeness becomes a sacred temple of God, and against anything which you yourself may have also been guilty of before;
- or an opinion or point of view which goes against the words of God and the evil outcome thereof;
- coveting, claiming or using without due permission or authority what is not yours or belongs to your neighbors;
- vanity and love for material things more than our love and our trust in God through Christ Jesus, and through our love of others, that God, not we or anything material, may be glorified;
- and all other sins of lust you can think of?
If we feel no remorse or any guilt in any of the aforementioned sins of malice, we may be bound to Hell where there is the absence of God.
And Saint Faustina, in her ‘Vision of Hell,’ where God revealed to her the different tortures of Hell that all may know about the truth and the reality of the existence of Hell, also complements the revelation of God on Saint Catherine about Purgatory.
The pain of those damned in hell, however, is still ‘not infinite in quantity’ as the ‘dear goodness of God sheds the ray of His mercy even in Hell.’
Only God knows what punishment one will need to endure in Hell or in Purgatory, depending on how we have lived in this life and depending on the depth of our prayers as we pray with all our heart and in all sincerity, that through our good deeds and love for others, our God of love and mercy and forgiveness, through Christ our Lord and Savior, may hear and listen to us.
God wants us to continue to be prayerful, as we praise. thank and show how we adore Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, and to follow him, what we may be guided in his light, and be willing to share this light too with others as we show our genuine love can concern for our neighbors, starting with our own family.
Is it not apparent that it is in loving God and others that we truly see a more fulfilling, noble, honorable and respectable way of loving ourselves?
Praying for our dearly departed love ones, and for others worthy of our prayers, for God’s rays of love, mercy and forgiveness to possibly cleanse those still in Purgatory as a show of our love and concern for them, as we believe in the power of the love of God and the power of prayers, is this not what God wants of us, a show of our intense faith through our love for others?
In Mark 11:24, Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
In John 15:7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
And in Matthew 19:26, Jesus Said, “With God, all things are possible.”
[Read our related post on: “… ‘Jesus Saves’ via Christaninsal.Over-blog.com, on Love in Christ, Mama Mary and the Saints” as you may want to seek for further enlightenment in God’s words.]
Saint Catherine reminds us too that those committing malice who refuse to repent and renew, they shall bear its guilt for as long as they persevere, that is, for as long as they will to commit the sin or they will to sin again, they may be in danger of being bound for Hell if in this life they continue to sin in malice and refuse to totally cleanse themselves of this sin.
We are being admonished by Saint Catherine, by divine enlightenment, to be stronger in our faith than our cravings for anything material, to be selfless in our love for God and of others, less we want to suffer Hell, as early as in this life.
It is in dying to one self and being one with God through Christ Jesus, and in Christ, that one may experience this feeling of ecstasy in him as he experiences his oneness with God.
She likens our cravings for material things as similar to one who, by instinct, cannot but bear living without bread in this life, to which one reacts so strongly with the pain felt so intense with its absence that one is experiencing Hell, his impatience and his will may lead him to be damned in Hell, as his will may become wholly and solely focused on the bread which he so desires.
But for one who lives in restraint and is able to deny himself of his worldly cravings and has accepted the words of Christ as the real and true food for himself in this life, may very well be freed from guilt, as he would bear every pain and suffering necessary to see God in Christ Jesus, our true Savior who has brought us life and love.
Cycles Toward God or Mammon
Leaning towards God through Christ, may very well conform with Saint Christine’s message of renewal and redemption that may cleanse one’s self and may lead to eternal life, as opposed to that vicious cycle towards evil that lead to Mammon and Hell.
Let me try to simplify the two vicious cycles that may either make or break relationships in our life, and these are as follows:
1) one with God as master >>> any given situation >>> practice love, humility, forgiveness, sharing using God’s words and Commandments as weapons and tools >>> be joyful, pray, and give thanks >>> avoid conflict >>> peace and love >>> more productive, efficient and fruitful >>> HEAVEN
note: above cycle may continue until death, and onto eternal life, may lengthen life, and more importantly, may lead to HEAVEN
as compared to:
2) one with Mammon (material things, money, sins of lust, power, wealth) >>> any given situation >>> worry, blame, dig on past mistakes using pride, selfishness, human wisdom and intelligence or hurting/lethal weapons as tools >>> injuries, death, >>> conflict, unforgiveness, hatred, vegeance >>> goes back to worry, blame, etc. = vicious cycle of never ending conflict, inefficiency and new unproductive situations are created with snowballing effect >>> growing Mammon >>> HELL
note: above cycle may continue until death, and it may shorten life, and sadly, may lead to HELL, even as early as in this life, especially when there is the absence of God in one’s life
Do you see now the clearer picture and the root causes of good and evil? Which cycle would you rather choose?
Two Rays of Light from God for Cleansing
Saint Catherine talks of two kinds of rays from the enormous light from God. One that purifies and another that destroys all the imperfections in our soul, and destroys the ‘self’ in us, although already in the state of the absence of guilt with complete repentance made during our lifetime.
This ‘self’ refers to our inner being that has caused us to sin in malice, pride and selfishness.
As we have accepted the love of God in Christ, there is a need for our purification, one free from all imperfection as one takes away the rust from his soul until it becomes pure as gold ready to face God and be one with Him.
Earlier in this life, God wants us to already purify ourselves from any imperfection that we may be cleansed from sin and from all guilt in confession and repentance, followed with total renewal that anytime we are called, we are purified and sinless, as well as guiltless to perfection, ready to be one with him in eternal life.
In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus tells the crowd and his disciples, “You have heard that is was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
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